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Tech Support Rating: Apple, Dell, Lenovo Top List

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 28 comments

Consumer Reports surveyed over 7,000 of its readers and declared its list of companies that provided the overall most satisfactory tech support for laptop and desktop computers.

While many Tom's Hardware readers are used to doing their own troubleshooting and support of their own computers, the quality of post-sale support is often a huge differentiator between a good computer experience and a bad one.

Consumer Reports, an independent and non-profit publication, released its latest ratings for computer tech support for laptops and desktops. The magazine's findings were based on an annual survey of over 7,000 desktop- and laptop-owning subscribers to Consumer Reports from January 2009 to January 2010.

Respondents were asked to review a manufacturer's ability to solve their problems, the communication and knowledge of phone support staff, how long they were placed on hold, and the quality of the company's online support.

Based on responses from owners of 3,685 laptop computers, Apple scored 86 points out of 100. Second place Lenovo earned a 63; third place Toshiba had 60; fourth place Dell has a 56; and HP/Compaq has a 53. Trailing far behind was Acer/Gateway/eMachines with 39.

The running selection for desktop brands was narrower with only four brands. Based on responses from owners of 3,711 desktop computers, Apple took top spot at 87 points out of 100. Dell scored 55 for second place; HP/Compaq scored 53 for third; and Acer/Gateway/eMachines grabbed another 39.

Read more about the rankings from Consumer Reports.

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  • 1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , March 11, 2010 10:46 PM
    What about ASUS, Gigabyte, et el or is this just mainstream PC/laptop manufacturers?
  • 0 Hide
    Atranox , March 11, 2010 10:48 PM
    ...Dell?
  • 9 Hide
    jacobdrj , March 11, 2010 10:51 PM
    I am glad to see Dell make a commitment to return to the top of the reliability list. However, I find their proprietary BIOS, system restore, and chassis to be a huge hindrance, without the proprietary benefits of some sort of idiot proof OS, like Apple...
    Dell, you have GOT to loosen up. You are not Apple.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , March 11, 2010 10:52 PM
    What is best though is when you don't have to call in the first place.
    I think Apple should get points off for their weak 90 day free phone support.
  • 0 Hide
    lostandwandering , March 11, 2010 11:24 PM
    Shadow703793What about ASUS, Gigabyte, et el or is this just mainstream PC/laptop manufacturers?


    CR generally just sticks with the mainstream. I don't think Asus was reviewed. Anyone got their last Gadgets Magazine?
  • 2 Hide
    Nik_I , March 11, 2010 11:34 PM
    i think asus came out on top in a survey of how many calls their customer service center got. Apple finished second in that one because 95% of its tech support is done at the apple store, eliminating almost all of their phone support, so their result wasn't very accurate.
  • 2 Hide
    frozenlead , March 11, 2010 11:35 PM
    I'll bet they didn't factor in the percent share of computers by brand - Apple may be scoring an 86 on their scale, but if it's an average of 100 or fewer customers, the data is worthless.
    Does anyone subscribe to them and have more numbers?
  • 9 Hide
    freename , March 11, 2010 11:52 PM
    Disclaimer: this may be seen as flamebait and is pure opinion based on message boards & people I've met..

    The stereotypical Apple customers are a lot more rabidly supportive of Apple as a company and will give Apple higher praise than, say, an owner of a Laptop from a different company.

    Asking loyal Apple customers to rate Apples support is like asking priests to rate their religion. Some will give a frank appraisal, but most love what they've bought into and won't knock it when asked questions by a stranger.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , March 11, 2010 11:53 PM
    Shadow703793What about ASUS, Gigabyte, et el or is this just mainstream PC/laptop manufacturers?

    There usually isn't a need to use their tech support.
  • 0 Hide
    rmmil978 , March 11, 2010 11:57 PM
    It's a good thing Asus tech support isn't needed that often, because they do make superior products...HOWEVER, if you DO need to ever use it, good luck ever getting a resolution. I have had to use it, and after multiple emails I got a canned response, no follow-up, and the tech support call line leads to individuals who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
  • 2 Hide
    Ryun , March 12, 2010 12:33 AM
    Dell only got 55 out of 100 on desktops. Yeah, they're in the top of the one list, but that's like saying Dell is the thinnest kid at a fat camp. He's still fat.
  • 0 Hide
    doomtomb , March 12, 2010 1:15 AM
    I don't know about that Dell rating. At least from sales, I had a really good time ordering my laptop last week on the phone. Friendly, fast, smart. My laptop was ordered, processed, built, and shipped and arrived at my door step in 7 days. That's incredible.
  • -5 Hide
    damesJ , March 12, 2010 1:51 AM
    freenameDisclaimer: this may be seen as flamebait and is pure opinion based on message boards & people I've met..The stereotypical Apple customers are a lot more rabidly supportive of Apple as a company and will give Apple higher praise than, say, an owner of a Laptop from a different company.Asking loyal Apple customers to rate Apples support is like asking priests to rate their religion. Some will give a frank appraisal, but most love what they've bought into and won't knock it when asked questions by a stranger.


    You don't think there are people like that regarding pcs?
  • 3 Hide
    dantheman1001 , March 12, 2010 3:15 AM
    I am familiar with apple people and non-apple people, but I have never had the impression that there are "Dell people" or "HP people"
  • 2 Hide
    rajeshsundaram , March 12, 2010 4:31 AM
    Not a delightful experience with Dell India. I wanted to know the price of Dell 20" 2009W monitor. So I called their India sales line and the call was transferred to the 'concerned department'. Someone picked up and when I asked about the pricing details, she said "no idea". Then asked about the availability of another model, for that she said - "no idea". :-D Probably she had a bad day at office?

    - Rajesh, Zoho Corp
  • 0 Hide
    bustapr , March 12, 2010 10:18 AM
    I dont have a problem with Acer. Of the times Ive called their line theyve helped me accurately. Id give Acer an 80 because u have to enter shitload of info when u call.
  • 1 Hide
    micky_lund , March 12, 2010 11:17 AM
    custom built tech support rating:
    id give myself a 10..lol
  • 1 Hide
    thearm , March 12, 2010 11:51 AM
    If you have the gold support, yes, Dell is pretty good. If you don't, your *ucked.
  • 1 Hide
    smashley , March 12, 2010 1:19 PM
    My experience with Dell support has been quite good, though the only time I called them was during an off-peak time so the wait wasn't long, and all I needed was a replacement power adaptor for the laptop. Concerning these numbers I think that since Apple statistically has a smaller market share, it's reasonable that the support call wait times would be shorter. It's easy to provide good support if you don't have a lot of customers.
  • 0 Hide
    zelannii , March 12, 2010 2:23 PM
    jescott418What is best though is when you don't have to call in the first place.I think Apple should get points off for their weak 90 day free phone support.


    The free support only applies to non-fix related calls. Hardware warranty support calls are still covered for the full year, with or without Apple Care.

    What you're essentially saying is Apple is the only company that offers a 90 day "question and answer support line" for 90 days while the others don;t offer that at all. You can call apple for "how do I..." questions for the first 90 days, whether or not you actually have a problem. And text chat for doing so is always free, as is making an appointment at an apple store to talk to a genius. The others offer no such help (if it ain't broke, don't call us" mentalities.)
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